Frequently Asked Questions
Below is a list of frequently asked questions which will hopefully answer any queries you may have. If you don’t see what you’re looking for below, feel free to contact us and we’d be more than happy to help you.
Our trips are available to everyone from all walks of life. The main prerequisites are that you are flexible, open minded, be able to ‘go with the flow’, trust your local guide and tour leader and not be afraid to meet local people. In many of the countries we visit, things to do not work as efficiently and smoothly as you would expect in the UK. This can take some getting used to, particularly if you are not a very experienced traveller. For example, it may be that you are not used to: a train being delayed for an unknown period of time; having to take a detour on a trek to avoid a recent landslide; sharing a sleeper train carriage with local people or poor bathroom facilities etc. There may be one or many elements that will take you away from the norm but these are all part of adventure travel!
Why not take a look at some of the trips we operate such as our open challenges or charity challenges. If none of these take your fancy, we can always arrange a bespoke or private group challenge for you to cater for your needs. In addition, we also offer adventures for corporate and school groups so more people can experience one of our ‘once in a lifetime’ trips!
As cliched as it sounds, our challenges are life changing. People return from our trips and leave their jobs for their dream career path, start new relationships, end relationships, get married, sell their home, go travelling and other life-changing things. There are also the little things that people may not realise instantly following their experience, such as having their eyes opened to the poverty in certain parts of the world, or inspiring them to learn a language or learn more about the culture of the country they visit. Some people simply just enjoy a break from the norm and the opportunity to do something a bit different on their holiday. Our trips are fully supported so all you have to do is enjoy the experience, not worry about any logistics and go with the flow. We use local guides to provide you with expert knowledge on the region you are visiting and an insight into local culture and we always ensure that the local staff are well paid and treated fairly. Please read our responsible tourism policy for more information.
To participate in one of our challenges or adventure holidays you need to be 18 years old or older. If you are under 18, you may still be able to participate but subject to being accompanied by a parent or guardian or a responsible adult. However, each child’s parent/guardian must make their own judgement on the suitability of the challenge and provide written permission for their child to participate. Please discuss with us your individual requirements.
This greatly depends on the challenge itself. Most of our challenges are challenging by nature (as you would expect) but there are different levels of challenge throughout our tour options. For example, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is considered an extreme challenge as you will be dealing with very high altitude, trekking for many hours per day and it requires a person who is fit and healthy to participate. Conversely, on our Sahara challenge you need to be able to trek up to 25km in one day but it doesn’t involve any altitude although there is the additional challenge of the extreme heat. It is difficult to grade each challenge because people react differently to particular aspects. For example, someone might love trekking at altitude but hate the heat – making the Sahara challenge much more difficult for that individual. In regards to assisting at a project, EVERYONE has something to offer! You don’t have to be a builder, carpenter, medic or teacher to help. Even such basic things as visiting an orphanage and spending time with the children will have a massive psychological benefit to those you visit. Every person will be a valuable asset to the project and every person has their part to play.
All our tours (apart from those which are project-only departures) require you to have a good level of general fitness to be able to cope with the physical challenge element of the itinerary. It is impossible to give a definitive guideline of how fit you should be because one person’s fit is another person’s unfit. Our trips have been graded to give you an idea of the difficulty of the challenge but it is generally expected that everyone who participates on our challenges are able to walk for up to 8 hours per day at a moderate pace (5 kilometers per hour /3.1 miles per hour) on flat/easy terrain without becoming breathless whilst being able to hold a conversation. Most of our challenges involve undulating terrain (ups and downs) and therefore having a good level of fitness will ensure you can keep up with the guides and the group and enjoy the experience without feeling exhausted throughout.
Don’t worry if you’re overweight when you register for a challenge because part of the preparation for our challenges is training. If you really commit to a training program (increasing your physical activity, going on walks, using a gym if you have access, walking to work instead of driving etc) you will find that your weight will reduce as your fitness increases. Often challenges are a great way to kick-start a healthier lifestyle and improve your general health, such as lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, reducing your risk of heart disease and type two diabetes and reducing anxiety and stress.
If you are obese (BMI of 30 or above) you will need to declare this on your medical form and have your physician declare that he/she believes that your obesity will not prevent you participating in the tour without risking the health and safety of yourself or your group (e.g. your pace is likely to be slower so you may risk arriving to camp very late at night, or you may be unsteady on your feet and fall or be less agile if you have to scramble on any rocky sections). You can calculate your BMI on the NHS website. If your weight is classed as obese this does not mean you cannot participate in the tour but we would ask that you confirm that you are committed to a healthy eating, exercise and weight loss program to ensure there is no risk to your health and safety on the challenge.
This greatly depends upon the challenge and the type of disability or medical condition. Not every challenge we operate can accommodate people with more restrictive disabilities. For example those tours which involve a degree of strenuous physical activity might not be suitable for people in wheelchairs or with mobility issues. However, people with disabilities are often gifted and enabled in ways that non-disabled people are not and therefore we will always assess each person’s application individually. All participants are required to complete a medical declaration form upon registering and if you tick ‘yes’ to any conditions on the form we require the form to be signed by your specialist and/or regular physician. This signature is a declaration from your doctor to confirm, having read the tour itinerary, that he/she believes that your medical condition will not prevent you participating in the tour without risking the health and safety of yourself or your group. If you wish to discuss your particular circumstances, please contact us.
Different Travel do not agree with discrimination or prejudice in any form so everyone is welcome to join our trips regardless of their sexual orientation or how they identify. Intolerance of a group member for any reason will not be tolerated and everyone travelling with us will be treated with equal respect and courtesy. Any person travelling with us who has a contrary view will be expected to abide by the company view and refrain from words or actions that could lead to offence. If needs be, this will be reiterated by a tour leader as per our terms and conditions of booking.
However, we ask for understanding that the culture, laws and attitudes of some countries are not always as welcoming, for example some countries still consider homosexuality a crime so displays of public affection may have serious consequences. As with all our tours, we expect all our team members to be respectful to the culture, laws and norms of the destination, whether you agree or not. For further advice on particular destinations please ask us.
Yes. Many of our travellers come on their own, and single travellers are always welcome. We pair up single travellers with the same sex and similar age participants to avoid a single supplement charge. If you wish to have your own room we may be able to provide this at a small surcharge.
Please don’t be put off by joining as an individual. You’ll be travelling with a group of like minded people who also chose to join a challenge or holiday with a difference and a UK Tour Manager will be with you every step of the way. We provide opportunities to bond with your fellow adventurers, such as team meals and many of our previous participants have let us know that they’ve made new friends for life! You might join as an individual but you’ll leave as part of a team!
Yes. travel insurance is mandatory on our challenges due to the nature of the tour. We require all your insurance details at least 12 weeks prior to departure but you are strongly recommended to purchase travel insurance before or at the time of booking to protect your non-refundable registration fee. We recommend that you speak to a specialist travel insurance provider, as they can provide a range of travel insurance products which match the kind of challenge we offer.
Different Travel is an Unregulated Introducer of Campbell Irvine Ltd who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
Click here to buy your policy. Campbell Irvine are independent experts in providing bespoke insurance and risk solutions for both corporate clients and individuals. They are a firm of Registered Insurance Brokers who have been established for over 35 years, who pride themselves on quality, professionalism and above all a personal service.
Please note: most travel insurance policies protect you before departure too so it is advised to buy insurance as close to booking as possible as it may protect you against the loss of your non-refundable, non-transferable registration fee if you cancel due to injury, illness etc.
If you have existing insurance, we require you to inform your insurance company of the type of activities you will be involved with, as your policy may not cover these activities and failure to inform the insurance broker of the type of activity might invalidate any subsequent claim you make. The Different Travel Company is not responsible for any loss as a result of your failure to check that your insurance policy covers you for everything involved in your tour.
On our open challenges and adventures holidays, yes. An open challenge is not organised for a specific charity so the individuals taking part can use the trip to support their favourite charity or charities. If you would like to take part, but have no particular charity in mind then take a look at our list of charity partners to see if any appeal! We also run charity challenges on which we work closely with a specific UK charity to raise funds for their organisation. If you wish to join one of these trips then you are very welcome to do so, but you may be asked to raise a minimum sponsorship level for that particular charity.
Yes you can! Many people join our tours just as something different and exciting to do instead of a traditional ‘holiday’. The only exception to the rule is if you are interested in paying to join a bespoke charity challenge. You are welcome to pay the tour costs from the minimum sponsorship target but you must pay or fundraise the remainder of the minimum sponsorship which is a donation to the charity. I.e. if the minimum sponsorship was £3000 of which the tour costs were £1500 you would be welcome to pay the £ 1500 yourself for the tour costs but you must also pay or fundraise the remaining £1500 as a donation to the charity.
There are plenty of companies which offer adventure travel trips and charity events, and you may have even worked or travelled with them in previous years. But we believe there are many reasons why you should choose to book with us:
- We are a small, dedicated and flexible company which offer a personal service and excellent support to our participants and charity partners.
- As an ATOL-bonded tour operator, you know you can trust our organisation and you are ATOL-protected abroad.
- All our staff are experienced travellers and have a passion for overseas adventures.
- Many of our open challenges include community projects which help communities at home and abroad, which not only makes them different but gives our challenges more appeal to potential supporters (if you are fundraising).
- We offer advice on how to make your trip carbon neutral, which makes them ethical and sustainable.
- Where possible, we work with smaller local agents in our destinations to support local businesses and often use the same expert local guides year on year who have lots of experience with our groups.
- For charities and other challenges which require marketing, we offer a range of marketing support services and we aim to help you to make our challenges a success for you, for us, and for the local community.
- Charities, schools and bespoke groups will also have a dedicated account manager so you know who to turn to for advice and help with your challenge.
No. The Different Travel Company is a direct action charity challenge tour operator. However, we do work with charities and other organisations on fundraising challenges.
Many of the flights and flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. But ATOL protection does not apply to all holiday and travel services listed on this website. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking. If you do not receive an ATOL Certificate then the booking will not be ATOL protected. If you do receive an ATOL Certificate but all the parts of your trip are not listed on it, those parts will not be ATOL protected. Please see our booking conditions for information, or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate, please go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOLCertificate
We make an operating profit in order to continue trading and to enable us to continue the work we do.
Making a profit doesn’t have to be unethical. What counts is what motivates us to maintain a profit. We have a duty to our suppliers, agents and people we work with to ensure we continue trading. We also have a duty to ourselves, our staff and our families to ensure we can pay wages. Without making a profit, it would not be possible to continue our work and achieve any of these things. However, we have made a conscious decision with all our challenges to price ‘ethically’, that is to ensure that our margins are set at a reasonable and responsible level so that our challenges are affordable to as many people as possible.
Our trips are led by a Different Travel tour manager who is selected for their wide travel experience in remote places, being great with people and able to communicate in a friendly and approachable way as well as being able to deal with any situation that arises during the tour. They are all a minimum of Outdoor First Aid trained and are always willing to offer a friendly ear if you have any concerns or problems, as well as an encouraging word when things get tough. Our tour managers come from a variety of backgrounds from sales and marketing to finance, travel and tourism to nursing and everything in between but they are all fluent English speakers and passionate about travel and adventure. Many of them have full-time jobs and manage our tours on an ad-hoc basis so they are fresh and full of enthusiasm for each trip they lead. Unlike many companies, we don’t send our tour managers to the same destination for long periods of time so they will be as excited about the trip and the new experiences as you are. The role of our tour manager is to support the group throughout the trip, while being a liaison between the participants and the local staff to make sure everything runs smoothly and any issues are handled quickly and efficiently.
We’re pleased that you love our photos, videos and content but to respect the copyright of our photographers, videographers and publishers any images, video, written copy or anything which falls under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (known hereforward as “Media”) that is sent to you by email, found on our website or printed documentation is not to be reproduced anywhere without express permission by The Different Travel Company. If permission is granted, the Media should only be used in direct reference to and acknowledgement to The Different Travel Company. If you would like to use any Media that appears on our website, emails, documentation or printed documents please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org with your request, the description (and weblink if relevant) of the exact Media you wish to use, and your intended use for this Media. Permission to use The Different Travel Company Media will not be withheld unreasonably.
About our challenges
During the challenge part you may be camping in tents, sleeping in huts, mixed gender dormitories or basic guesthouses. Toilets may be long drop, flushing or squat (or you may use nature’s bathroom at times). Washing/bathing facilities may be basic or not available. Before and after the challenge, most of the hotels we use are 2-3 star and locally owned. Although standards vary, the 3 star rating means that the rooms will be comfortable and clean with air-conditioning or a fan and en suite facilities. The hotel will often have many of the facilities you would expect in the West including flush toilets and possibly internet access. Where the accommodation varies from this standard, this is made clear in the tour information. Please check each tour information carefully to ensure you are aware of the standard of accommodation to expect.
It is amazing how much difference you can make especially when you are working as part of a group! Furthermore, many of our projects are on-going so although you will only be there for a short period of time, we bring many different groups to the project, each helping and adding a little bit more. We do not take groups back to projects where there is no longer a need as this will bring no benefit to the local people and the individuals do not get the same opportunity to make a difference.
Absolutely! Subject to availability and final group size, most of our tours offer you post-challenge/project travel which we can arrange for you. Often there will be pre-planned tours which you can purchase separately, but you are welcome to travel independently if you wish. Please contact us for more details.
For our overseas trips, we include an international flight from the UK so you can travel as a team from the start, but if you prefer you can choose to book your own flight and meet up with the group at your destination. In this case, please contact us for a ‘land only’ cost. Please make sure that your chosen trip is definitely operating with the minimum numbers required before you book your flight as we will not be liable for any money lost if a tour cannot operate. If you book your own flight, you will also need to make your own way to the agreed meeting point at the start of the trip.
At the time of booking you will be provided with a trip dossier which includes a suggested kit list plus lots of information about the tour and what to expect. Please read this carefully because this is packed full of useful information to prepare you for your trip. Please note that the kit (packing) list is just a guideline and you are expected to use your own judgement to decide exactly which items to bring. Our expert staff are on hand to answer any questions you may have about what to take so please ask them for advice. You are also advised to spend some time in your local outdoors store with your kit list and itinerary to look at the products available and speak to the specialist staff for advice to complement the list. We offer a 10% discount at Nomad Travel and Outdoor so please contact us for a voucher to use against any kit you decide to buy here. Please remember to shop around and look online for special deals.
Rest assured we will support you every step of the way.
Before the trip: For individuals we’ll provide a comprehensive trip dossier and kit list packed full of useful information and tips on how to get started with your training. Further trip information documents will be sent to you prior to departure and your flight e-tickets will be sent approx. 2 weeks before the date of departure.
In addition, for our charity and bespoke group trips, we can provide information evenings where we give an informative presentation about the experience and we also provide a pre-departure meeting which goes into detail about the trip, what to expect, what to pack and a general feel for the experience with your confirmed group. As we are a small flexible company, if there is anything you would like us to provide which we haven’t offered, we are open to suggestions and always willing to do our best to accommodate your requests.
We also offer a very flexible support package to meet your needs and the needs of your organisation. At the very least we will provide you with print-ready information materials such as flyers, trip dossiers and marketing copy for newsletters if required. We also provide tips on how to effectively market the challenge and advice on how to convert enquiries to bookings if you need to recruit participants.
If you are fundraising, we can also help with fundraising ideas and payment options for your participants, such as part self-funding, part sponsorship. This can all be discussed with your account manager to ensure the best solution for you and your team.
During the trip: You will be in the company of an expert local guide and UK Different Travel Tour Manager who will ensure the trip operates as smoothly as possible. They in turn will have 24 hour assistance to hand from our local agents and will be liaising with the UK office for any concerns that may arise. All our guides and tour managers are minimum outdoor first aid trained.
Visas: Check out our individual trip pages or we will let you know before you book if visas are required for your trip. Whilst we are unable to assist you with applying for visas, we will certainly furnish you with information and guidance on how to apply. Please note that the information we provide is correct at the time we provide it and we cannot be held liable for any changes to visa requirements.
Medical Advice: It is essential that you contact your GP, health adviser or travel health clinic for medical advice whenever travelling, regardless of where and when you go. You may also need to see your practice nurse for a list of vaccinations and recommended medication to counteract malaria and other possible tropical diseases. Failure to ensure you are properly vaccinated and take appropriate medication that is recommended for travel to certain countries may result in your insurance policy being void if you become ill with a preventable disease. For some destinations there are compulsory vaccinations, such as yellow fever for parts of Africa and South America. We will advise you in these instances and valid certificates must be carried to show at immigration. If for any medical reason your doctor advises against having these compulsory inoculations, he/she will be able to provide a medical certificate stating the reasons and most countries will accept this instead. Remember, when you book a place on one of our tours you receive a 10% discount voucher for Nomad Travel clinics who are specialist travel health providers.
The main priority at all times is the safety of the group and individuals. The Different Travel Company will not allow this priority to be compromised. As such we carry out risk assessments for all our trips and have a stringent health and safety policy to ensure the utmost safety of all our groups.
We also have the following policy in respect of work on our projects as well as participation on our challenges:
- No one may conduct work in an environment, or with materials, where they might be at risk of injury, without having been subjected to a full briefing of any potential hazards, dangers and risks.
- No one is allowed to work in a hazardous environment without the proper supervision of a contractor or supervisor, suitably qualified and able to instruct on matters pertaining to safety.
- The decision of a tour leader, contractor or qualified person appointed by The Different Travel Company is final and non-negotiable.
- Anyone working outdoors should take adequate care to ensure that they are protected from the effects of exposure to the sun and elements. This means that if it is hot the participant is responsible for wearing a high-factor sun screen and UVA resistant sunglasses (if relevant) and ensure keeping well hydrated. All participants must ensure appropriate clothing and footwear is worn.
- People must remember to drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol whilst working on any projects, especially if working with machinery and/or tools which can cause hazards to others.
- People are expected to be mindful of others around them and be careful regarding causing a hazard for others on the site by acting in a safety conscious manner at all times.
- Those with existing medical conditions should declare this to the group leader before commencing work on any project.
- While participating in the physical challenge part of the trip, participants are to listen to the local guides and tour escort and understand that decisions they make are final and non-negotiable for your safety.
- In the event of circumstances beyond our control (such as meteorological, political and legal) it may be necessary to change the itinerary and this will be done so with your safety in mind.
- If it becomes clear that you are not fit enough or physically able to participate in the physically challenge part of the trip without causing a hazard to yourself or the group you may be asked to separate from the group and be escorted by a local guide to a hotel at a designated meeting place where you will wait for the physical challenge to end and reunite with the group. This will be at your own cost and to be claimed on your travel insurance.
- Anyone who chooses not to adhere to the health and safety policy in its entirety does so at their own risk, and Different Travel cannot be held responsible for any injury arising from non-adherence to the health and safety policy.
- We only work with local agents who also comply to our health and safety requirements.
Please click here for our Terms and Conditions.